It's really simple. Find yourself a nice long, straight branch of either Willow, or Ash. Why? The idea is not a wood that is bendable, but springy. It needs to NOT conform to the bow shape, it has to want to spring back into a straight branch. Birch and oak aren't good bets for this ...Ash, and Willow are probably what you'd find layin'around. The branch should probably be no wider then 2 inches in diameter. I think ..don't quote me on that ..it's been a while.
When you pick this branch, find the one with the least amount of knots in the wood. Knots weaken it, and chances are it will break during shaping. if there are a couple knots, it's ok.
Skin the branch, and cut two notches on both ends for wire.
:Note: If the wood is to young, and it's moist when you skin it, try setting it outside for a week or two and see if it hardens a bit ...not too much! You want it taut, not brittle.
Alright, so now you should have a skinned branch with two knots on each end, and no more then 2 inches in diameter (again, don't quote me on the 2 inches, use your best judgement. If it's too thin, it won't spring enough ...if it's too thick, it'll snap.)
For now just use a piece of string, or if you want to, go ahead a buy some strong twine (Do not use a rubber band, or anything of the like!), and knot the ends around you notches, secure ...I don't remember the recommended knot, but just type in "Bow knots" or something in google and i'm sure you'll find it.
Heres the tricky part, and the long part ...I don't have a picture so I'll try to explain the best I can.
Grab a small bit of 2X4, and starting from one end of it, drive a screw in for every inch down the length of the middle of the 2X4. Next ...use something that will clamp the shaft of the bow in place.
The object of this is to work your bow into a slight bend, by clamping the bow in place, and pulling the twine over each screw on the 2X4 one at a time.
Start with the closest screw on the 2X4 ....then let it sit for a couple days. Go back, and pull the twine to the next screw ...let it sit ..and repeat. When you're finally as far as you want to go, you will probably have to re-tie your twine to keep it taut.
Repeat until it begings to look like a bow, basically. If you picked a good branch, this'll work. It's all in the quality of the wood.
A couple things to watch out for ...If you hear you branch crack, even barely, it's useless. Start over. And the lenght of the bow will determine how far it shoots.
Arrows are easy ...thin sticks, skin them and shape'em as straight as you can. Carve a tip on the end, and cut 4 notches on the opposite end for 'feathers', or whathaveyou, for stability.
Note: Your first few times, it'll **** . This is how you'd make on without the proper tools and training ...so don't expect a masterful creation here. I've explained it the best I could via internet.
Thats pretty much it ...good luck! It takes a lot of patience!
Oh ya ...Fightingarts ...Don't ask me how I know this *grin*
[This message has been edited by Ket (edited 04-20-2005).]